CINEMA REOPENING: EXPECTATIONS
It’s been over six months since the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on most social gatherings. Governments of different countries announced the closure of restaurants, bars and different hangout destinations where people of all ages go to have fun. Cinemas fell under this category, different cinemas all over the world were closed to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was sad for many cinema lovers across the world, but a positive development for online movie streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney, IMDb TV alongside many others. Fortunately for movie watchers, cinemas are reopening across different countries since July to date.
Cinemas in Nigeria reopened on the 11th of September with exception of Rivers and Lagos states. In South Africa, cinemas reopened in late August with regulations on hygiene and guest number. China began to open its movie theatres in July 20th 2020 with a reduction in capacity. In India, cinema halls are not open yet, but there are rumours that the halls will be open sometime in October. The movie industry is definitely bouncing back from the negative effect of the pandemic. However movie production has resumed in many countries and film makers are seeking ways to increase income and widen their audience.
Months before the beginning of the pandemic, cinemas all over the world were filled to the brim with people. When COVID-19 struck, cinemas across the world were closed resulting in a drop in the global box office, delayed film releases and cancelled film festivals. Movie streaming has increased drastically with mobile streaming platform Netflix announcing a ten million increase in the number of subscribers in the second quarter of the year. Now that cinemas have opened, it is expected that there will be a reduction in the number of cinema lovers because people have become more aware of the ease that is involved in streaming movies from their mobile devices at home.
In the years 1918 to 1920, the Spanish flu pandemic struck the world by storm. There were cinema closures around the world and when individual television came, it seemed that cinemas had come to an end. However, cinemas all over the world stood strong because film makers strategised, reducing costs of tickets and providing an experience no other platform could give: the cinema experience. For many people, that feeling of watching a movie with loved ones on theatre seats cannot be replicated by anything else.
The movie industry has stood strong for over a century and it topped a whopping $101 billion USD in 2019. This shows that beyond the entertainment that movies provide, they contribute largely to the economies of the countries they are made in. It is indeed great news that cinemas are open: a ticket to the movies is a way to relax and unwind from all the stress that the pandemic has brought us. It is also important to incorporate social distancing, nose masks, hand sanitisers and hand washing into the cinemas to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Older people and young children are more likely to stay home and stream movies from their mobile devices. The movie industry will most likely adapt considering all these factors and flourish after some time. Adaptation may not be easy, but it is the way for cinemas to go now.